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Council projects

Ongoing projects

  • Emerald Airport runway resurfacing & general aviation upgrades

    As part of a $16 million capital investment in the Emerald Airport, the Central Highlands Regional Council and Boral Asphalt will carry out important upgrades to the main runway and general aviation area.

    The works will be carried out by contractor Boral Asphalt and include:

    • Resurfacing the main runway, taxiway and apron bays
    • Reconstructing the general and eastern aviation apron, and the refuelling area
    • Expanding the general aviation apron

    The projects will involved night works and plant may produce some noise, however all efforts will be made to limit the impact on nearby residents.

    Please adhere to all signage and changed traffic conditions.

    Project schedule

    Runway resurfacing works General aviation precinct works
    PHASE ONE: Pre-construction August to early October 2019 September to early October 2019
    PHASE TWO: Construction Early October to early December 2019 Early October to February 2020
    PHASE THREE: Demobilisation Early December to mid-December 2019 March 2020
  • Gemfields bounded locality project

    Anakie, Rubyvale and Sapphire are town names officially registered in the Queensland Place Names Register and administered by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) under the Place Names Act 1994 (Qld).

    ‘The Gemfields’ is the bounded locality, officially registered under the Place Names Act 1994 (Qld). A bounded locality is defined by specific physical boundaries that act as reference points.

    This makes bounded localities useful for finding locations used by a variety of organisations and for a variety of purposes including:

    • Emergency services locating call-out sites.
    • GPS devices and Google maps for navigation.
    • Australia Post by linking postcodes to bounded localities.
    • Companies for addressing using geocoding software.

    Anakie, Rubyvale and Sapphire are the three towns within ‘The Gemfields’ bounded locality.


    The bounded locality was created 20 years ago during a national push to ensure that all of Australia is bounded for location and wayfinding purposes. Furthermore, it is thought to have a connection to the roll out of Telstra’s mobile phone infrastructure at the time.

    Feedback from current stakeholders that were engaged in tourism and community development at the time claim that there was little public consultation throughout the change. Since then, communities within ‘The Gemfields’ bounded locality have experienced address related problems that can be associated with the locality itself.

    Problems associated with the bounded locality encompassing the three towns include:

    • Failed and false delivery of mail and freight for people and businesses.
    • Difficulty in locating call-out sites experienced by emergency services.
    • Wayfinding challenges experienced by tourists.
    • Loss of identity, historical heritage and sense of belonging.

    In 2017, Rubyvale Progress Association undertook a petition in Rubyvale and Sapphire seeking to resolve the problems. The petition was submitted to council counting 547 signatures, around 42 percent of ‘The Gemfields’ residents aged 19 and over.

    Project objective

    The Gemfields Bounded Locality project seeks the following outcomes

    1. Validate majority support to dissolve ‘The Gemfields’ bounded locality.
    2. If the mandate exists, develop a proposal for alternative bounded localities.

    At this stage, the proposal will be the creation of three new bounded localities to represent the towns of Anakie, Sapphire and Rubyvale and surrounding areas.

    It has been identified that the Fairbairn Dam community is both within ‘The Gemfields’ and ‘Gindie’ bounded localities. Similar issues to those experienced in Sapphire, Rubyvale and Anakie have been reported. It’s proposed to realign the locality boundaries and move the community into the exiting ‘Emerald’ bounded locality.

    A final proposal will be submitted to the state government for processing.

    Project activities

    The following project activities have commenced and/ or are proposed:

    • Clarify and confirm the impact of problems associated with ‘The Gemfields’ bounded locality.
    • Stakeholder engagement with community members, emergency services and Australia Post.
    • Mapping of boundaries and development of suitable shapefiles and supporting evidence for proposal submission.

    It is important to note that the project does not seek changes to town names or postcodes.

    Frequently asked questions

    How will the Willows be affected?

    As there are currently no indications that the problems experienced with ‘The Gemfields’ locality directly impact ‘The Willows’ locality, there are no proposed changes to the bounded locality ‘The Willows’.

    There are known issues with re-routing mail to ‘The Willows’ not intended for that locality that are caused by the lack of names for the Rubyvale, Anakie and Sapphire communities.

    Will the town names be changed?

    No, the town names of Rubyvale, Anakie and Sapphire will not be changed.

    Why can there just be new bounded localities called Sapphire and Anakie?

    There are clear constraints, rules and guidelines for the national register of bounded localities that do not allow the duplication of names.

    How long will it the process take?

    A report will be brought to council after the consultation period in April. Depending on the resolution, a request will be sent to the Minister in May. The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy will then process the request. Community representatives have worked closely with the department to address any procedural issues in advance.

    More information about the department’s process and additional supporting information can be found here:

    Why would there be changes to the Emerald bounded locality?

    The Fairbairn Dam community near Emerald is part of both ‘The Gemfields’ and ‘Gindie’ localities. Similar issues to those experienced in Sapphire, Rubyvale and Anakie have been reported there. There is an opportunity to carry out additional administrative re-alignments within the project.

    Council and community representatives are currently working with stakeholders in the Fairbairn Dam community to validate the issues and identify potential changes. This is unlikely to have an impact on anyone other than the Fairbairn Dam community.

    Why can’t there be separate postcodes instead or additional to a bounded locality change?

    Problems experienced stem from the bounded locality name, not the postcode. Changes to postcodes are only considered when problems are connected directly to the postcode.

    What will indicate the success of this project?

    Part of the project is a proposed review to determine the overall success and to identify any further actions required.

  • Stormwater condition assessment

    Council will assess over 87 kilometres of urban stormwater pipes over the 2019-2020 financial year as part of an ongoing physical asset condition program.

    The stormwater project will be conducted by the Proterra Group.

    Crews will run a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera down each stormwater pit and along the pipeline, capturing video footage.

    The resulting videos will then be viewed by the team, and any defects identified will be assessed. If considered to be in poor condition, that stormwater pipeline will then be placed on a forward program for renewal or replacement.

    Appropriate traffic control will be in place if required.

    Project timetable


    Capella July
    Rubyvale July
    Tieri July-August & October-November
    Rolleston November
    Springsure November-December
    Dingo December


    Emerald January-June
    Bluff January
    Blackwater January-April
    Duaringa January
  • Urban sewer condition assessment

    Council engaged GeoRadar to conduct an urban sewer condition assessment across the region’s major towns.

    From March to September 2019, more than 63 kilometres of sewerage pipes will be assessed with closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.

    Any pipeline defects identified will be placed on a forward program for quick renewal or replacement.

    Residents can expect to see GeoRadar employees lifting manholes, running camera lines and viewing images from monitors in their vans.

    Traffic control will be in place where required.

    Project timetable


    (click for detailed map)

    Segments to be surveyed 

    Length of pipe surveyed (m) 

    Survey time frame




    March – April 




    April – May 




    May – June 




    June – August 




    August – September 

    Rolleston will not be part of the assessment as its sewer system, built in 2008, remains in good condition.

  • Yamala Enterprise Area - Stormwater management

    Council  engaged ACS Engineers to undertake stormwater drainage master planning for the Yamala Enterprise Area and associated studies. The area is a proposed primary development area and regional transport hub (more info below).

    This plan is intended to provide high level guidance for the design and approval of stormwater management infrastructure for the site.

  • Yamala Enterprise Area - Building Our Regions funding secured

    The Yamala Enterprise Area refers collectively to a parcel of land identified in the Central Highlands Regional Council Planning Scheme comprising of 360 hectares of land zoned ‘special industry’ and a further 1640 hectares of land zoned ‘industry investigation’.

    The initial stage involves a major upgrade to the intersection of the Capricorn Highway and Bonnie Doon Road, construction of a 1.5 kilometre rail siding and an upgrade to Bonnie Doon Road for access to the site.

    This infrastructure is a critical enabler to allow the intermodal port to proceed.

    Located 22 kilometres east of Emerald, the area is strategically located to service supply chain operators and producers, maximising existing infrastructure networks with direct access to the Capricorn Highway (via Bonnie Doon Road) and major freight rail network.

    The 360 hectares of land zoned ‘special industry’ incorporates the Louis Dreyfus Cotton Gin, an 8-stand cotton ginning operation, and pending State Government support will feature:
    – An inter-modal freight facility, the CQ Inland Port
    – A state-of-art grain facility and rail siding providing fast 36-hour train cycling time to Gladstone, the ability to handle longer 42 wagon unit trains without shunting wagons and higher capacity wagons in the future, and efficiently handle local grain away from the Emerald urban areas.
    – An initial 11 industrial lots ranging in size from 10,000m2 to 40,000m2

    In partnership with the developers of the CQ Inland Port (CQIP) and GrainCorp, Central Highlands Regional Council has committed to provide extensive support to the development of the greenfield Yamala Enterprise Area.

    Subsequently, council has secured State Government support of $4.415M through Building our Regions Infrastructure Fund, Round 3 to kick start the Yamala Enterprise Area.

  • Blackwater Sewage Treatment Plant Effluent Irrigation Extension Project - BOR funding secured

    Funding for the Effluent Irrigation Extension Project has been secured under the state government Building Our Regions funding program will bring the Blackwater Sewage Treatment Plant in line with environmental requirements for the discharge of treated waste water.

    Council funded the first stage of this project and will match the $1.2 million in state government funding for stage two.

    We identified two sites whereby treated effluent could be discharged, being the
    areas of the Hunter Street Sports Precinct and the nearby Blackwater Golf Course and adjoining Blackwater Model/Aero/Heli/Car Club.

    Following detailed analysis, we resolved to deliver a two-stage process to meet environmental requirements:

    • Stage 1 (Hunter Street Irrigation System): Includes installation of irrigation systems at the STP and Hunter Street Sports Precinct, storage tanks at Hunter Street and electrical and control works including the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system to control effluent pumping to Hunter Street. Award of tender (2016T108C) was approvedby Council resolution on 14 February 2017 and this project is currently underway. We were the sole funding contributor and will deliver this stage of the project at a cost of $1.4M.
    • Stage 2 (Golf Course Land): Includes the extension of irrigation throughout the
      Blackwater Golf Course and adjoining Blackwater Model/Aero/Heli/Car Club including pipework and trenching, pump upgrades, fitting valves and irrigations sprays and the construction of a high density polyethyelene (HDPE) lining (storage pond) at the Blackwater Sewage Treatment Plant.
  • Central Highlands floodways program - BOR funding secured

    The Queensland Government have announced $790k in funding for the Central Highlands Regional Floodways Program to improve the resilience of the rural road network.

    Council will match this funding to deliver the project which involves the construction of concrete floodways at twenty four sites in the region to provide safe crossing during wet weather.

    Concrete floodways provide channelised drainage points in which overland run off water may cross the road providing a suitable and safe crossing for vehicles traveling along the network. Thus, these works aim to reduce the time in which residents are impacted and/or isolated during wet weather events.

    Nominated sites have been identified by reviewing digital mapping of previous flood events and locating those which consistently become damaged following rain events. These sites present a recurring issue when considering access for the rural remote community into regional centres.

    Construction works will take approximately four months to complete, and include:

    • Removal of existing pavement at nominated sites
    • Replacement with 30m*8m concrete floodway, inclusive of cut off walls
    • Stabilise 15m approaches on both sides of floodway (full width)
    • Removal of excess material
  • Central Highlands Meat Processing Plant

    The establishment of a meat processing facility near Emerald will enable processing of high quality beef products to supply well-established markets in Australia and overseas.

    Central Highlands Meat Processing Plant Fact Sheet

    Central Highlands Development Corporation is coordinating this project on behalf of council.

  • Emerald Airport Runway Enrichment Project

    Stage one of this project began on 18 March 2017 and was estimated to last three weeks but will now take longer due to recent weather events.

    It  involves removal of the surface and application of a new surface layer on the main runway ‘Taxiway Bravo’ and aircraft parking bays one and two.  This work will extend the life of the current main runway, improve safety, quality and compliance and ensure that Emerald airport remains a viable and reliable community asset. The financial outlay for stage one  of the project is approximately $300,000.

    Stage two of the project is planned to commence at the end of 2017. This will see both ends of the runway fully reconstructed at a cost of approximately $4.95M. We have been successful in gaining Queensland Government funding to the value of $2.2M for this project under Building Better Regions Fund.

    The overall project will extend the life of the airport infrastructure, improve quality and safety and confirms council’s ongoing commitment to maintain and grow our vibrant region.

  • Works for Queensland program

    More than $2.6 million will help kick off 27 infrastructure projects in the Central Highlands, as part of the Queensland Government’s Works for Queensland program.

    Upgrades to the Emerald Botanical Gardens, improved facilities at Capella’s Bridgeman Park and new playground equipment for Rubyvale are just some of the local projects approved today under the funding.

    Mayor Cr Kerry Hayes said the announcement would fast-track these important projects, but also create a big boost for jobs across the region.

Completed projects

  • Emerald Airport / Gregory Highway intersection - Opened 9 Mar 2017

    These works are now complete and provide better road safety for motorists using the Gregory Highway and the Airport Road. The completed works included widening of the highway at the entrance to Emerald Airport, the addition of turning lanes, additional street lighting and improved road markings.

    The project completes another phase of council’s commitment to improving and upgrading infrastructure throughout the region.

  • Blackwater Aquatic Centre - Opened 4 Mar 2017

    The Blackwater Aquatic Centre is part of the Hunter Street Sports Precinct and was jointly funded by Central Highlands Regional Council, the Australian Government and BMA.

    The centre was officially opened on Saturday 4 March 2017. It features a 50 metre partially covered pool, a 25 metre covered and heated pool, a zero-depth splash pad for the little kids, a community meeting room, kiosk, amenities, a courtyard and covered dining areas.

  • Nogoa River excavation works - Completed 14 Mar 2017

    Approximately 310 000 cubic metres of soil was removed from the Nogoa River around Emerald as part of the river improvement strategy

    Emerald residents said they felt strongly about clearing out the river as a form of flood risk management during a series of public information sessions that the Central Highlands Regional Council hosted last year.

    According to modelling by engineering company KBR, localised flooding reductions of up to 30 centimetres in a flood the size of the 2010-11 event could be expected.

    Media releases:

    Drone footage:

  • New Street Evacuation Route - Opened 15 Dec 2016

    New Street in Emerald was raised to provide the highest and driest access point for vehicles and pedestrians from the area lying south of the railway line into the town centre.


  • Herbert Creek Bridge - Opened 23 Dec 2016

    The three-month project to replace the bridge over Herbert Creek on Boolburra Edungalba Road is now complete, with the road opening to motorists from Friday 23 December 2016.

    The $1.25 million project involved removal of the existing timber bridge and replacing with a concrete structure as well as the stabilisation and resurfacing of the approaches. The new bridge will provide improved flood access for motorists in the Boolburra and Edungalba communities, particularly ahead of the upcoming storm season.

    The project was jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments as part of the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements in association with Central Highlands Regional Council.

    Watch 3 months work condensed into 2 minutes in the timelapse video below.

  • Sapphire Wetlands Reserve - opened 26 April 2018

    This project developed the wetland reserve into a focused recreation attraction. Works included the construction of new walking trails, wetland viewing areas, bird hide, fencing, educational and directional signage and a new car park.

    The project was funded: $109, 636 by the Australian Government and $157,861 by Central Highlands Regional Council and was officially opened on the 26 April 2018.


More project information - Central Highlands Development Corporation

Visit the Central Highlands Development Corporation for more information about major projects in the Central Highlands.

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